Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Life Without A T.V. Remote

For the last fourteen years, I have racked my brain for gifts for my son. My son is fourteen now and severely delayed, does not walk or talk and has no use of his hands or arms (seizures, dystonia and severe mental retardation). He has been this way since birth. I had him tested at a major rehabilitation institute in the midwest when he was three years old and if I recall, the “official” diagnosis is an apraxia of the hands.

Birthdays and Christmas have always proved challenging. Imagine going into any Toy R Us store and looking for a toy that does not involve your hands, arms or voice and does not require you to sit, stand or balance and you begin to see my dilemma. Oh, and let’s throw in the fact that he can’t roll either. Now then, take all the time you want and let me know what you find.

This has gone on for many years and I have become quite creative in my gifts. I have learned to focus on the things that he can do and the things that he enjoys and that drives my selection. Most important, is focusing on things that make him happy.

Last October, he was hospitalized again in a last ditch attempt at some intense PT/OT and ST rehab. In the room we had, was a small television that was located at his bedside. He seemed to delight in the fact that this t.v. was smaller than most and was “his”. After seeing how much he enjoyed this t.v., I decided he should get one for Christmas.

I have never liked having a television in the bedrooms. I think they are places of rest and do not condone it. However, my son is now bedridden so I decided to make an exception.

Santa brought the television for Christmas and he absolutely loves it. Now then, here comes the issue. He can’t operate the remote. Not only can’t he operate it, he can’t even hold it. I don’t know why this bothers me so much but I can not imagine lying in bed watching t.v. and not being able to change the channel. Not being able to EVER change it. Suddenly, the fact that his hands don’t work, REALLY bothers me.

I take channel surfing for granted. I frequently flip through them at a moment’s notice. I never think about it. Once, I lost the remote and I didn’t know where the physical buttons were on the television to turn it off.

Of all the blessings that I have, I have never considered the fact that I can use a remote control as a blessing. Who knew?

1 comment:

Chelsey said...

Hi there. The remote can be adapted by:
1. Buy a battery device adapter. This will allow you to make the remote "switch activated" instead of battery activated
http://www.ablenetinc.com/cart/Browse.asp
2. Attach a switch to the remote. I don't think you can use it to change channels, but it will work for "on" and "off". They have all types of switches. The link is for a large one. However, ablenet has all types. The user can hit them with their head, leg, fingertip, etc.
http://www.ablenetinc.com/cart/Browse.asp

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